The growing need among tourists to be close to nature after being confined to their homes for months, will make wildlife centric itineraries prominent
By Nishant Kashikar
Home to the world’s most unique natural landscapes, vistas and fauna, Australia is a playground brimming with adventure, perfect for travellers that are on a quest for exploration. Over 80% of the animals are unique to Australia and cannot be found anywhere else. Here are a few wildlife experiences that will leave you spell bound on your next trip down under.
Take a walk on the wild side:
The growing need among tourists to be close to nature after being confined to their homes for months, will make wildlife centric itineraries prominent. When in Oz, one can bask in the serenity of nature by observing koalas in their natural habitat on a long road trip down the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne or take a 45-min ferry from Perth to the cozy Rottnest Island for an adorable selfie with the world’s happiest animal – the quokka. And while grazing the sunny lands of Western Australia, pay a visit to Caversham Wildlife Park (just 20 mins from the city of Perth) to get up close and personal with wombats or feed a herd of friendly kangaroos.
Whilst you’re driving along the Great Ocean Road, embark on a walking tour at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, which is run by a local Aboriginal cooperative. Guests here are treated to unperturbed views of some of Australia’s most iconic native wildlife including emus, echidnas, wedge-tail eagles and over 160 different species of bird!
The nature lover’s special:
Bask in the plush wilderness and take the path less traversed with The Great Walks of Australia, on multi-day guided walks. This allows travellers to experience a deeper connection to nature by getting up close to the country’s most breathtaking landscapes. From the Three Capes Lodge Walk along the dramatic Tasman Peninsula to the Maria Island Walk, which explores UNESCO heritage settlement sites, secluded white-sand beaches and rare wildlife, adventure is just around the corner!
Australia is also home to some of Mother Nature’s most incredible natural wonders which provide the perfect opportunity to go off the grid and detox. So, take a trip to the neon blue ocean at Jervis bay (3-hrs scenic drive from Sydney) which radiates at night or gaze at the magnificent natural hues that illuminate the sky courtesy of the Northern Lights’ equally spell binding partner, the Southern Lights in Tasmania.
Sustainable and eco-tourism is a great way to keep the love for exploration alive without harming the local culture and nature. A majority of Australia’s luxury resorts are governed by tenets of sustainability, to ensure the conservation of the regions where guests are hosted and envelop them in the local flora, fauna and culture. At the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, guests can partake in conservation efforts that include planting trees and surveying wombats. Wildlife lovers can take this a step further at The Camel Sanctuary, where enthusiastic riders can help save camels. If you are visiting Queensland; you could pitch in to protect endangered sea turtles, or involve yourself with some of the world heritage national parks clean-up as a conservation volunteer on Fraser Island.
(The columnist is Country Manager – India & Gulf, Tourism Australia. Views expressed are the author’s own.)